Oh, you thought Elon Musk had moved on past the whole Hyperloop thing? That ultra high-speed transportation system he first started talking about back in 2013?
That’s understandable. It’s been a while since he’s said much about it.
He’s still thinking about it, though. In fact, he’s just committed to building a test track for the concept.
Details are still sparse, but Musk tweets:
And to encourage people to get involved, he’s considering a competition league to see which student group can build the fastest pod:
Literal pod racing!
Here are the key points of what we know about the Hyperloop system Musk wants to build:
- The first full-size Hyperloop track (read: not this test track) would run from LA to SF.
- Musk’s design group estimates the cost of the LA -> SF track to be around $6 billion.
- That trip, based on totally conceptual estimates, would take 35 minutes.
- The conceptual top speed is roughly 760 MPH.
- Musk believes the Hyperloop would work above ground or below ground.
- The concept works by sending pressurized pods through a tube. This tube is (theoretically/hopefully) kept at a partial vacuum, allowing the vehicle to move within significantly reduced air resistance. The pod itself floats on a cushion of air, with the pod’s design meant to utilize air-pressure buildup — which would generally slow a vehicle down — to its advantage.